From the time we are kids, we are told how important it is to eat our fruits and vegetables to be conscious of our health. These foods are generally very nutritious and full of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. However, when these foods are not properly handled by grocers or producers, they can become contaminated and cause food poisoning or even fatal disease in unknowing consumers. Because we trust that the foods we purchase are safe for consumption and rely on producers and growers to provide healthy and safe foods, it is the legal duty of commercial food producers and merchants under the law to inspect foods, remove those that are unsafe or contaminated, and to warn consumers of known dangers.
According to CBS News, fruit is being recalled from major grocers for due to possible listeria contamination. Wawona, a fruit-packing company based out of California, announced a recall of their peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots. Some of the fruit has tested positive for listeria. The fruit at issue was packed between June 1, 2014 through July 12, 2014 and was shipped to major grocers, such as Trader Joe’s and Costco. As our readers know, under products liability law, it is the job of producers and stores to inspect products for damage and contamination, remove the dangerous products from the stream of commerce, and to warn consumers about the known dangers. Where a company fails to do this and a consumer suffers injury as a result of their failing to do so, they have breached their legal duty and can be held liable in a lawsuit.
It is imperative that the recall happen immediately as listeria is a potentially fatal bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listeria is an infection usually caused by consuming food contaminated with the listeria bacterium. Those most at risk for the infection include older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, even those who do not fit into these groups can be affected by listeria. The symptoms of listeria present themselves in a multitude of ways. In older adults and those with weakened immune systems, septicemia and meningitis are the most common manifestations of listeria. Pregnant women may experience a fever and other symptoms such as fatigue and aches. The infection may also result in loss of the fetus or bacteremia and meningitis in their newborn baby. However, the best way to reduce the risk of becoming infected by listeria is safe food preparation, consumption, and storage.
Food poisoning is an unfortunately common issue that takes on more forms than just listeria. The other leading pathogenic causes of serious foodborne illnesses include E. coli, salmonella, norovirus, hepatitis A, and clostridium perfringens. Those who suffer injuries from contaminated foods or who have lost a loved one due to foodborne illness can seek compensation for both economic damages and non-economic losses through a lawsuit. Our attorneys have experience representing Illinois clients in food poisoning cases, including a $4 million settlement for three convention attendees who contracted salmonella and suffered crippling arthritic injuries. We would be happy to speak to you in a free consultation about your potential case and potentially assist you with your legal needs.